Robots at Work and Play
Resembling a headless horse, a robotic Legged Squad Support System (LS3) developed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency navigates terrain during a demonstration at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Fort Myer, Virginia, on September 10, 2012. The LS3 is being developed for use by the U.S. military to carry heavy loads and equipment over a variety of terrain.
Advancements in robotics are continually taking place in the fields of space exploration, health care, public safety, entertainment, defense, and more. These machines — some fully autonomous, some requiring human input — extend our grasp, enhance our capabilities, and travel as our surrogates to places too dangerous for us to go. Gathered here are recent images of robotic technology at the beginning of the 21st century.
A free-swimming robot submarine maneuvers beneath sea ice in Eastern Antarctica. Scientists have produced the first three dimensional map of the surface beneath Antarctic sea ice, helping them better understand the impact of climate change on Antarctica. The team of scientists from eight countries used a robot submarine to chart a frozen and inverted world of mountains and valleys, allowing accurate measurements of the crucial thickness of Antarctic sea ice.
Sophie Morgan walks with the aid of “Rex”, a Robotic Exoskeleton at the Welcome Trust on September 19, 2012 in London, England. The system allows wheelchair users including fully paralyzed people, to stand upright and walk independently. Sophie was paralyzed from the breast bone down in 2003 following a car accident.
On Mars, NASA’s Curiosity rover images itself — this image shows the rover’s Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS), with the Martian landscape in the background. The image was taken by Curiosity’s Mast Camera on the 32nd Martian day, or sol, of operations on the surface (September 7, 2012). APXS can be seen in the middle of the picture. This image let researchers know that the APXS instrument had not become caked with dust during Curiosity’s dusty landing. Scientists enhanced the color in this version to show the Martian scene as it would appear under the lighting conditions we have on Earth, which helps in analyzing the terrain.
Small robots with faces attached of “Gangnam Style” singer Psy, perform the dance during a contest for future strategies of robots in Seoul, South Korea, on October 17, 2012.
Alvin Kabwama, one of the designers of a prototype robot that can detect and disarm Improvised Explosive Devices attempts to switch it on at Makerere University’s College of Engineering, Design Art and Telecommunication in Kampala, Uganda, on June 6, 2012. The robot is remotely controlled by a computer and can navigate a flat surface of up to a 20m radius. The development comes in the wake of continuous terrorist threats as a result of the country’s contribution of forces to the African Union peace keeping mission in Somalia.
Quadriplegic research subject Tim Hemmes operates a mechanical prosthetic arm with Katie Schaffer during a testing sessions at a University of Pittsburgh Medical Center research facility in Pittsburgh. Hemmes had a chip implanted on the surface of his brain that reads his intention to move his paralyzed arm and sends that instruction instead to an advanced bionic arm. The goal is to create mind-controlled prosthetics to restore some independence to the paralyzed.
The robot “Obelix” runs through Freiburg city center, on August 21, 2012. The machine, starting 9:45 in the morning at the University of Freiburg, found its way independently to a plaza in the center of Freiburg, about four kilometers away. Obelix made the journey, avoiding people and obstacles, in about 100 minutes.